Carolina: Cruising Past 70

Friday, July 3, 2020

What If We Can No Longer Travel

While on lockdown in Arizona during this pandemic, I was able to finish my second book. It was my flagship project during the period of isolation that was forced upon my husband and me. We also did not get into the virtual travel bandwagon. Instead, we insisted on making road trips to state, regional, and national parks that were left open for the adventurous souls like ours (please see 5 Socially Distanced Road Trips to State, Regional, and National Parks). We reasoned they were natural social distancing opportunities, much better than going to the grocery or the mall. They gave us a welcome whiff of the desert spring that we love so much and we discovered small Arizona towns of character along the way (please see PREVIOUS POST).

But each time I came home, I began to think about how it will be if I truly cannot travel anymore. Not because of an external menace, but because of a personal condition. The question I asked myself was "What If we can no longer travel?” In truth, there are still seven years left in my seventies. But, as early as now, I stop to think about if and how I will travel in my eighties, even my nineties. But when I start to feel hopeless, I snap back and get ready for the time when, not if, the lockdown will be lifted and we can travel again.

Walnut Canyon in Flagstaff, Arizona

Although Covid-19 is seemingly exhibiting a second burst of energy here in Phoenix, I firmly believe the spread will dissipate, there will be more effective therapeutics and then a vaccine will be available. We have canceled our April, May, and June trips out of state. But we are going ahead with our July, August, and September road trips. And we wait for the time  that the Canada-US border restrictions will be lifted so we can also visit our Canadian family. Lastly, we are fervently are still preparing for our December-March annual vacation in Mexico. For that to materialize, the Mexico statistics of cases and deaths must ease and the border restrictions lifted.

But I am looking beyond these. There are still seven years in my seventies before I say goodbye to it. This has been a period of traveling more slowly and more comfortably. At the end of this decade, there will probably be another change in the way we travel. Even more comfort and convenience will be needed. As early as now, I stop to think about how we will travel in our eighties; in fact, even nineties; and then perhaps even later. While we are getting ready for the time when the lockdown will be fully lifted, air travel would be safer, and we can travel again to anywhere we would like to go, my wonderings take me to the time when I really won’t be able to travel anymore. 

a Las Vegas display on Chinese New Year

As much as our travels have steadily become less, from twelve months to eight in my sixties to six in my seventies, it will probably just be four in my eighties, and two in my nineties. This will not be because of external circumstances like we have today but because we may increasingly be forced, by reason of our own aging bodies or dwindling resources or both, to spend more months at home. We will probably stay in Phoenix even in early and late summer or early and late winter and not just in spring or fall.

In the end, we will probably be limited to spending our two-three months of travel in Mexico. Since we would also have probably exhausted all the day trips possible here in Phoenix and there in Mexico, they will not really be travels per se but a simple transfer between homes. Even our summers will change from extended road trips to visit family and friends. Instead, we will see them in just two weeks of reunionssomewhere in the US accessible in reasonable drives from Phoenix one with Bill’s family and another with mine. Hopefully, they will also think of visiting us more than waiting for us to visit. 

at the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, California

And, if we will probably still feel some feet itchiness, we will most probably look for places that are closer to home. For example, they can be summer trips to Sedona, the beautiful red rocks city, and Flagstaff, that refreshing mountain town, which are both at higher elevations and much cooler than and only two to three hours from Phoenix. A little farther away are Las Vegas, only five hours, and Palm Springs, only four and a half hours from our Viewpoint home. It is a good thing our timeshares have plenty of options in any of those places. 

Even if air travel will be declared safe again, we will probably also no longer be able to stand long haul flights. That would practically eliminate travel to the Philippines and Australia.  My youngest daughter April makes Melbourne home. I also still have two sisters in Manila. My BFFs also live there. I can imagine that there will be significant events when we will have to make the trip. During such times, we would most probably have to fly business or first-class. 

love this scene in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

My writing will also probably change. In my seventies, I added inner journeys to my writing staple of travel diaries. In my eighties, because we will be going to fewer new places, I will probably be writing mainly travel essays. And in my nineties, it will probably further shift to musings about life in general, albeit in different settings. My overall theme will then transition from “Cruising Past 70” to “Cruising to the End.” I hope there will be enough energy for a third book.

In other words, I don’t foresee a time when I will no longer travel except at the very  end. I have a well-entrenched traveler’s soul. I still eat a lot of chicken feet and wings (please see Do You Want to Know the Secret to My Traveler's Soul?. Thanks for coming along with me on this continuing long ride. I hope I am making a difference to those of you who discovered travel early because you see that it is indeed quite possible to continue well past 70. I hope it has also inspired those of you who discovered it late because you know that it can be done until the end. Let us simply be true to our souls and let them roam as freely as they can.